Each year, thousands of entrepreneurs start new businesses, which in turn increases the demand for employees.

It is no secret that hiring tech talent is hard; meanwhile, hiring good tech talent is much harder, as they are constantly being bombarded by different recruiters and companies.

But what if in addition to the growing demand for tech talent, the process is further complicated by the fact that you're a non-technical person?

We have conducted 3 interviews with non-technical founders to ask them how they managed to win the fight for tech talent and build successful startups.

Expand Your Technical Expertise

You have to enrich your tech expertise. Just because you do not know how to code does not mean that you are doomed to fail. Naturally, developers will do the actual coding, but it is your job to be on the same page as the team and to "speak their language”.

Once you have developed a basic set of skills and knowledge to understand the software development processes and the requirements needed to develop the product, you can use your network to find the right technical talent to join the team.

We spoke with two successful founders about how they learned the necessary basics of coding during their talent-hunts. Both Eduarda and Josh gave us their recommendations:

"We had limited understanding of programming languages," says Eduarda, co-founder and CEO at DragApp. "So it was impossible to validate software developers’ expertise in the area we needed. That’s why we decided to spend some time to learn the essentials of the technical side of the business (source control, the basics of the product architecture, etc). We have read some books and even attended quick online courses:

Freecodecamp.org—engage in challenges to understand the foundation of programming;

Udemy.com/other video tutorials—engage in video tutorials to understand foundations;

Github—understand version control and see what's happening with the code.

Coding meetups—surround yourself with technical people that speak the language;

Besides that, stay involved in both technical and non-technical meetings with your software development team to understand development processes better. If you manage this task, you’ll be able to handover the code and other technical resources to new developers in case your software engineers leave the company.”

Josh Horwitz, Co-Founder and COO at Enzoic, has the following recommendations:

Qualified.io—has great code testing tools you can use, depending on your tech stack.

Agile Academy—is a great way to understand the Agile methodology and software development lifecycle.

Code Academy—is a useful resource to learn and test new coding skills.

Product School—is a resource that will help founders learn different product management skills and discover valuable insights on how to work with teams of developers.”

Cooperate with a Technical Partner

Marcel Hazeleger, TenderApp Co-Owner, says, “You can invite technical people to talk about the idea and goal of your application. Find people whom you trust and who can think of solutions to help you out with the things you don’t know.”

From Josh Horwitz, Co-Founder and COO at Enzoic:

“Based on my experience, my advice to a non-engineering founder is to find a good technical co-founder. However, I know first hand that this isn’t always immediately possible_._”

You can read dozens of books and go through a bunch of online courses, but these things require you as an indie hacker to sink valuable time into learning it. As many time-stressed indie hackers attest, sometimes you just don’t have the time to take a handful of courses, ass more books to your queue, and still find time to balance life and work. Unfortunately, we don’t have the technology to instantly learn new skills. However, as indie hackers we have something almost as good: the power of people.

Finding a technical partner will save you time and allow you to focus on other things that are equally essential to the growth of your startup. Attending local entrepreneur meetups is a great way to expand your network and potentially find someone you can find success with. Sharing the load, combining your expertises, and tackling the hurdles of technical hiring together can help boost efficiency and satisfaction. A bonus: finding somebody you can trust reduces overall stress, which is something we think all indie hackers can get behind.

Technical Skills Are Important, but not Vital

Two interviewers admitted that technical skills are not the most important part of a good candidate. They test communication skills together with technical knowledge. Eduarda and Marcel share their wisdom again below:

From Eduarda Bardavid, Co-Founder and CEO at DragApp:

“Keep in mind that hiring software developers isn’t all about hunting for technical expertise. Sometimes, ‘a coding genius’ might not know the first thing about entrepreneurial spirit and teamwork. Thus, general knowledge in several business-related spheres is more important than perfect tech skills in a narrow field.”

Marcel Hazeleger, TenderApp Co-Owner:

“I don’t really look at the technical part; you know I’m non-technical. So, what I’m looking for are communication skills.”

Ask for Recommendations

Think about the six degrees of separation theory, which states that all people are simply six social connections away from one another. Ask people in your network for recommendations. They might have someone in mind, and therefore, speed up the process of finding good tech talent.

From Eduarda Bardavid, Co-Founder and CEO at DragApp:

"Let your developers recommend new candidates to you. This way you’ll find developers with strong skills and, at the same time, build a network of developers who are eager to work together. Most of our developers have known each other before joining us.”

Check a Candidate’s Technical Background During an Interview

Testing technical skills when you don’t know the first thing about coding is tough during the interview. Unlike exploring communication skills or values, technical skills can’t be inferred purely through conversation. We asked Eduarda and Josh what they do to help suss out the technical skills of their prospects:

From Eduarda Bardavid, Co-Founder and CEO at DragApp:

“To test their technical skills, we always request and evaluate examples of previous projects they have developed. We also ask our CTO or senior developers to come up with a couple of technical questions.

We interview our candidates in three phases to assess them from different perspectives each time:

  1. The first interview is a conversation to understand the candidate’s background. If everything goes well, we invite them to a second interview where we test their technical skills.
  2. This phase is a mix of technical questions and an assessment of previous experience in software development.
  3. After the second stage, successful candidates are invited for a third interview which is dedicated to behavioral questions”

From Josh Horwitz, Co-Founder and COO at Enzoic:

“I asked candidate engineers to review the existing code base. My goal was less about whether they would find something in the code and more about whether they were able to speak intelligently about the good and the bad.”

“Next, I asked them to consider a particular feature that I wanted to build. I was interested in the questions they asked and the assumptions they made about my intentions. Before implementing the test feature, I asked them to describe their approach… the next best alternative approach and the pros and cons. If they couldn’t come up with other approaches or make a clear case—that was a big red flag for me.”


  • It’s better to spend some time expanding your tech expertise first. If that doesn’t work out, try finding a technical founder to help you out.
  • Don’t keep trying to hire software engineers when you don't understand technology enough to evaluate them. Know the system, know the need.
  • You’re not hopelessly lost if you are non-technical; a baseline knowledge of coding and tech can go a long way in successfully recruiting strong technical talent.

Have some advice of you own? Want to start a discussion around interview techniques? Feel like complimenting the author? Leave a comment below!